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Late Post Modernism. Illustrate your essay with specific examples.

This piece requires an examination of the concept of celebrity in the Twenty First Century. In order to carry this out it will assessed whether Graeme Turner's (2004;) contention that, 'The consumption of celebrity has became a part of everyday life in the Twenty First Century', is true. (Turner 2004; p. 84) In order to put modern celebrity in its context the concept of celebrity in the past will be examined. Then the reasons for celebrity will be analysed. The third paragraph will involve case studies of contemporary media and its treatment of celebrities. This will then be compared to an overview of contemporary examples where reality television and personal life events will be highlighted.

Marsha Orgeron (2008) identifies the origins of the modern concept of celebrity with the motion picture industry at the beginning of the Twentieth Century. The film industry followed on from vaudeville acts of the the previous century. The entertainment industry has its own system of patronage; the highest form of which was recognition. PD Marshall (1997) explains, 'In its affiliation with vaudeville, the film industry was part of an already established and successful cultural industry that possessed its own system of fame, prestige and celebrity.'(Marshall 1997; p. 80) Following vaudeville traditions variety papers, the pre cursor of today's celebrity magazines, the highest achievers in the profession were deigned by having their pictures on the front covers of the paper, 'Variety, the trade newspaper for most of the vaudevillian performing arts in the early part of the Twentieth Century, regularly displayed large photos of the vaudeville stars on the first page.'(Marshall 1997; p. 80) The modern celebrity is reliant on the visual representation of the individual, a reason for the movies being so vital for the rise of the celebrity culture. Orgeron (2008) identifies the notion of celebrity existing in the 1850's, however a rise occurred with photography. Orgeron says, 'The proliferation of photography at the turn of the twentieth century enabled individuals with recognizable names to become even more familiar through the distribution of their images.' (Orgeron 2008; p. 18)

This progression has seen a growth in consumption of celebrity, but also a change in tone as a wider variety of texts on celebrity grew. An American magazine called Spy came out in the late 1980s based on the rise of paparazzi style celebrity journalism that is seen as marking a massive rise in celebrity consumption. Their ironic and mocking tone showed that their opinion was that there was an over consumption of celebrity. Joshua Gamson, (1994) describes it as thus, 'An April 1989 cover story on 'celebrity garbage', offers, 'coffee grounds of the rich and famous- a scientific, sanitary and not at all unseemly SPY investigation.' Another 1990 story gave a sarcastic ironic guide to becoming and maintaining your celebrity status, 'What Americans think about celebrities, what celebrities will do to keep themselves celebrated, what nobodies will do to become famous.' (Gamson 1994; p. 49) The contention of Turner (1994) in the introduction was that celebrity consumption has become an everyday occurrence in the Twenty first Century. This has been shown by the increasing role of celebrities in consumption itself literally. Hamish Pringle launched a study of the use of celebrity endorsements in advertising, and found that one in five advertisements featured a celebrity endorsing the product being advertised. This was quoted as being an increase of one hundred percent over a ten year period. Mohan K. Menon and Hudson P. Rogers (2001) argue that the consumption of celebrity in the early Twenty First Century has become so great that celebrity endorsements were found in their investigation to work. Menon and Rogers said that the results suggested that the effect on the public was as follows, 'Marketers also claim that celebrities affect the credibility of the claims made, increase the memorability of the message, and may provide a positive effect that could be generalized to the brand.'(Menon & Rogers 2001; p. 1, Millward Brown 2006; p. 1)

Celebrity as we would understand it has been recorded as far back as 1850, however the origins of our idea of celebrity would be seen as existing in early Hollywood. The transition from vaudeville to Hollywood transformed the theatrical notion of the highest achievers in the industry being placed on the front cover of the industry magazines. The photograph and moving picture were vital to the consumption fo celebrity. Modern celebrity still has examples of achievement leading to celebrity, such as footballers. However, private lives, such as Pete Doherty or Amy Winehouse, lead to celebrity as much as achievement in the field of music. In addition the consumption of celebrity has been so great that intellectual feminist such a Germaine Greer, or MPs such as George Galloway go on base level reality shows such as Celebrity Big Brother because they believe its is the only way to attract the attention of the general public, especially the young. Case studies of contemporary newspapers show how celebrity stories and the reporting of reality television shows were given equal prominence to stories of murder or economic woe. The over consumption of celebrity has been shown by the media magazines that helped given rise to it taking an ironic, mocking or sarcastic tone. Consumption of celebrity has reached such a stage that modern celebrity aids literal consumption, playing a large role in the advertising of products. Therefore, in the final analysis, Graeme Turner was correct to argue that, 'The consumption of celebrity has become a part of everyday life in the Twenty First Century.' (Turner 2004; p. 84)

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